Tuesday, 16 July 2019

NEWSLINK: Wife of Italian circus tamer killed by one of his tigers reveals how she watched him die in a second when the animal slashed his throat - but begs officials not to euthanise the cat

The widow of a famed Italian big cat tamer killed by one of his own tigers says he died in a second after the animal's claws severed his jugular vein.


But Loredana Vulcanelli has begged authorities not to put the tiger that killed Ettore Weber two weeks ago to sleep.


She insisted that her husband made a false move with the tiger, Sultan, that cost him his life.

Read more... 

SIGHTING? AUS: Victoria man shares pictures that claim it’s a “big cat.”

A man claims to have taken pictures of a “big cat” eating a wallaby.

The pictures were sent to a Facebook page showing a large black animal with the remains of a wallaby in its mouth.


The pictures were allegedly taken by a man named Daniel in East Gippsland, Victoria, on a five-acre hobby farm.


When Daniel first came across the animal, he quickly started taking pictures, then yelled at it and the “big cat” ran away.

Read more... 

REPORT: Demand for 'traditional' Asian medicine is wreaking havoc on wild cats

World Animal Protection (WAP) has released a report documenting the heartbreaking suffering inflicted on big cats farmed throughout South Africa and Asia for the traditional Asian medicine industry.


“Trading Cruelty – how captive big cat farming fuels the traditional Asian medicine industry” describes how thousands of big cats are bred and killed every year only to be made into wines, capsules, gels, and balms — products that have never been proven to have any healing properties.


“Does the life of an animal mean nothing at all,” asks Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach, global wildlife advisor at WAP. “These big cats are exploited for greed and money – and for what? For medicine that’s never been proven to have any curative properties whatsoever. For that reason alone, it’s unacceptable. At each stage of their lives they suffer immensely – this makes it an absolute outrage.”

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Cradley Heath legend Lew Foley 'released pet lions onto Malvern Hills'

Black Country eccentric Lew Foley – who kept a pride of lions at his Cradley Heath home – unleashed the beasts on the Malvern Hills, a close friend claims.

What’s more, Lew also liberated big cats for other people whose collections of downright dangerous pets flew in the face of the newly introduced Dangerous Wild Animals Act.

Lew’s friend, Norman Catton, has broken his silence about the secret Malvern Mission following last week’s appeal in our sister title, the Sunday Mercury.

We revealed how Channel 5 are considering a documentary on the man who regularly took his three lions walkies and even brought them to his local pub.

Norman, who now lives in Halesowen, was one of the few Lew confided in after the big cats disappeared from his back garden.

Read more... 

SIGHTING? UK: Fresh 'Surrey puma' alert after devoured deer carcass discovered in Redhill field

The discovery of a devoured deer carcass in a Redhill field and presence of a lynx-like creature in the area has reinvigorated the "Surrey puma" legend.

Cass Elbourne was walking her dog in the fields off Brambletye Park Road on Friday (July 12) when she spotted the grisly carcass.

The 55-year-old, from Redhill, said: "It made me think wow, it didn't look like it had been eaten by a fox, it was like it had been thrown into a lion's cage - it was completely devoured and stripped bare, it was like something you would see at the zoo.

Read more... 

CARL WRITES: Rewilding the Lynx - how might this affect cryptozoology?

Rewilding the Lynx. How might this affect cryptozoology? 

Lynx are likely already inhabiting areas of Britain! There have been numerous eyewitness reports, not to mention specimens collected (E.g. the 'Canadian' lynx shot in 1903 that's now housed at Bristol Museum, 'Lara the Lynx', captured alive in 2001, and 'Lillith the Lynx', unfortunately shot and killed in 2017). I myself have found physical evidence in the Forest of Dean that suggests at least one Felid, comparable to a lynx in both size and shape, was at least at that time residing in the forest. Escaped Lynx do turn up on occasion, and as there is growing evidence the genus is active in Britain, how might this eventually effect the reintroduced animals? As all 'British lynx' are likely either escaped or released animals, and not necessarily of the same species, I predict the possible presence of hybrid genetic markers occurring in the bloodlines of the reintroduced lynx following the rewilding program, and if so, this may present strong molecular data in favour of the animals former presence in the UK. 🐾🐾 

References:

  • 'Canadian' Lynx (1903), Max Blake et al: https://www.academia.edu/11969894/Multidisciplinary_investigation_of_a_British_big_cat_a_lynx_killed_in_southern_England_c._1903 
  • 'Lara the Lynx' (2001): http://scotcats.online.fr/abc/realcats/larathelynx.html 
  • 'Lillith the Lynx' (2017): https://theconversation.com/fact-check-was-it-right-to-kill-lilith-the-escaped-lynx-87543

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

NEWSLINK: The huge cost of taking this popular travel selfie

Hordes of tourists who visit Asian hot spots are unknowingly supporting a cruel and unethically rare animal trade that breeds and kills lions and tigers on a massive scale.

World Animal Protection today released a report revealing thousands of big cats are being farmed in large-scale operations, many of which are marketed as conservation projects to unwitting travellers.


They are anything but, with one expert telling news.com.au it is “very unlikely, almost impossible” for any form of tourism involving wild animals to be operated ethically.


Instead, those cute lion and tiger cubs that make enviable selfie companions eventually grow up and are used for breeding before being slaughtered and sold as part of a booming multi-billion dollar traditional Asian medicine industry.


Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Circus tamer mauled to death by four tigers

A circus tamer has been killed by four tigers during a training exercise in Italy.

The 61-year-old man was attacked and mauled to death by the tigers who were part of his circus act in Triggiano, a small town near Bari (at the heel of Italy’s ‘boot’) on Thursday.

One of the tigers allegedly began to attack the trainer before three others joined in.
Reports suggest that the big cats played with his body for a while in their cage before paramedics and circus staff could eventually intervene.

The tamer, Ettore Weber, was taken to hospital immediately but later died due to his injuries.

The incident has sparked fresh calls for a ban on the use of animals in circuses.

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Indian tigers in distress: Death of three outside Tadoba reserve exposes skewed laws, territorial crunch in safe havens

A tigress and her two cubs dying outside the boundary of Tadoba Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra early this week, by several accounts an instance of revenge poisoning for having killed a village cattle, is actually a big optical illusion at play. The fact is the ghastly incident has as much to do with official apathy as with the booming tiger population all over India.
Add to this the lackadaisical legal system which is woefully inadequate to nail the culprits, a marked failure to pursue the case against the accused till their conviction and virtually letting them walk free. There are reasons why people are getting more emboldened to kill the big cats once they step outside the tiger reserve.


Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Lion and tiger farming may be inhumane, but we don’t know if it increases poaching

It is never pleasant to see wild animals caged and abused. A new report by the NGO World Animal Protection suggests that captive-breeding operations for lions and tigers have expanded to meet an increasing demand for big cat products used in traditional Asian medicine. While this is clearly bad news for the captive cats themselves, confined in often horrible conditions, we are not convinced by the report’s findings on what this means for wild populations.


Animal welfare organisations often suggest that farming wild species will lead to an increased loss of animals from their natural habitats. Either this is because animals are taken from the wild to stock the farms, or because the sale of farmed products increases demand for the wild version, leading to more illegal killing (also known as “poaching”).

Read more... 

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

NEWSLINK: Zoo owner said “in his opinion” keeper left tiger in paddock overnight and then re-entered enclosure to clean

Coroner Nicholas Moss asked Andrew Swales, the founder and current director of the company that runs the zoo, near Sawtry, to refer to a statement he made just after Rosa died on May 29, 2017.

Rosa, 33, senior carnivore keeper at the zoo, suffered traumatic injuries after being mauled by the male Malayan tiger called Cicip.

Mr Swales said slide [gate three] was open, which gave the tiger free access to the paddock area which Rosa then re-entered to clean a visitor's viewing window just after 9.30am.

Mr Swales explained the tiger should have been shut in its den overnight and Rosa would have been unlikely to have let him out first as she would have been aware of the difficulties of letting him into the paddock, then attempting to coax him back to the den to allow the cleaning to take place.

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Wildlife Groups Seek Endangered Status For California Mountain Lions

Two wildlife advocacy groups have petitioned California to grant endangered species status to the state’s mountain lions to help protect them from encroachments that threaten to drive them to extinction.

“Our mountain lions are dying horrible deaths from car collisions and rat poison, and their populations are at risk from inbreeding,” warned Tiffany Yap, a biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity, which presented the petition with the Mountain Lion Foundation. “Without a clear legal mandate to protect mountain lions from the threats that are killing them and hemming them in on all sides, these iconic wild cats will soon be gone from Southern California.”

The striking apex predators that roam the hills of Southern California are critical to the region’s ecosystem yet are increasingly threatened by development and a crisscross snare of highways. If cars don’t kill the animals, the roadways tend to keep populations isolated, significantly reducing mating opportunities and the big cats’ genetic diversity, which affects their health.

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Residents fear for safety after council allows two lions and a puma to be kept in Notts village

Residents in a Nottinghamshire village have labelled it a "travesty of justice" that a man has been allowed to keep two lion cubs and a puma there.

Earlier this week, Broxtowe Borough Council's planning committee went against the advice of the planning officer by allowing Reece Oliver, 28, to keep the animals in an enclosure at his home in Strelley Village - close to the M1 motorway.

Mr Oliver, who is an international show jumper and is fully licenced to own big cats, punched the air in the public gallery as the result was read out on Wednesday, June 26.

His animals include Rogue, a two-and-a-half-year-old Canadian puma, who weighs up to 65 kilos and is knee height.

Read more... 

SIGHTING, SCOTLAND: Expert claims animal likely to be exotic breed


An experienced photographer claims to have spotted a "big cat" near Alves.
Gazette snapper Eric Cormack was out on a shoot near Alves Old Parish Church with a colleague on work experience when he spotted something dart across his vision in his viewfinder.

He said: "It bounded across the field around 300 yards away - it's tail was really long and moved differently to a domestic cat. It swallowed up the ground really quickly with its long legs."

Eric immediately changed from a wide-angle lens to a zoom but the animal was only in view for 30 seconds.

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Gir lions affected by deadly virus last year, vulnerable, may never be freed in the wild

"A course comprising three cycles of vaccination has been completed. All the big cats are now virus-free and fit," said chief conservator of forest Dushyant Vasavda told Hindustan Times.

But there is chance of lower immunity, their presence can possibly put the lives of other big cats in danger if they catch CDV again and hence the forest department has decided not reintroduced the Lions to the wild.

However, they are mulling a plan to use these lions for gene pool research, breeding, and animal exchange programmes between zoos.

Read more... 

VIDEO: Motorcyclists in India escape death after tiger chase

It was possibly the scariest ride of their lives -- a tiger hot on their heels as they travelled near a national park in Kerala, India.

The big cat dashed out of the forest and chased after two men riding a motorcycle on the road.

The pair were officials from the forest department, which has been recently patrolling the area after receiving a tip-off of a tiger sighting, the Hindustan Times reported.

Find the animal they did -- it was running right after their vehicle.

Fortunately, the tiger did not continue with the pursuit and leapt into the surrounding woodwork.

Read more... 

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

NEWSLINK via Mark Raines: Corsica 'cat-fox' could be new species, say experts

At first, it appears much like an ordinary furry domestic cat.

But take a closer look and you'll find that it is much longer than an average cat, measuring around 90cms, its ears are larger, it has overly developped canines and the tip of its tail ends in a black tuft.

Not to be confused with the Borneo cat-fox (or cat-dog-fox-monkey-lemur) discovered by the appropriately named Dr Stephen Wulffraat about 15 years ago, the Corsica cat-fox has existed for some time in local legend, according to Pierre Benedetti, one of the researchers and chief environmental technician with the ONCFS.

Read more... 

SIGHTING, SCOTLAND: Woman left ‘frantic’ after sighting of ‘panther’ near Brechin primary school

The young woman left a message on a Brechin Community Facebook page saying: “My mum has just had me panicking, she was frantic shouting and screaming in the kitchen, she is making her pancakes and has been looking out her window, she has seen the black panther out in the Wood Yard.

“I myself witnessed him. Please anyone out walking your dog in the Wood Yard (Guthrie Park/Strachans Park area) this evening, be careful he doesn’t cross your path.”

The Wood Yard is to the rear of Andover Primary School, and leads to the Bog Road area of the town, with the Caledonian Railway line above it.

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Tiger attacks farmer in Ranthambore

A 35-year-old farmer was allegedly attacked by a tiger in the Khandar area of the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve on Monday. The victim, identified as Mohan Rebari, a resident of Laxmipura village on the periphery of the reserve, had gone inside to relieve himself in the forest when he was mauled by the tiger.

Read more...

NEWSLINK: Black panther seen dropping from a tree at Mount Sugarloaf

A black panther has been sighted at Mount Sugarloaf.

Chris Trees, 35, was riding his mountain bike when he spotted "a big, black cat" drop from a red gum tree.

"It was easily the size of a rottweiler. It had a big, black, bushy tail. It scared the shit out of me," said Chris, of Macquarie Hills.

"I go to the top of Sugarloaf and ride my mountain bike down. It's about two kilometres along Sugarloaf Range Road - there's a turn-off after the first small aerial tower.

Read more... 

VIDEO: Los Gatos woman records standoff between mountain lion and coyotes in her backyard

A homeowner captured some remarkable video of a standoff between a mountain lion and two coyotes in Los Gatos.

It all took place in Monica Hylbert's backyard on Friday morning. She heard strange sounds coming from the foothills of her neighborhood.

"Just after 7 a.m. I heard growling and the yipping of coyotes," said Hylbert.

In the video, the coyotes appear to work together to corral the big cat and stop it from moving forward.

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Do Big Cats Get Hairballs?

Sometimes it's hard to decide which gift from your cat is your favorite. Is it the half-eaten beetle, the pool of vomit, or the hairballs?

Like it or not, most cat owners contend with hairballs at some point: Domestic cats spend up to half their waking hours grooming themselves.

But, we wondered, does the same thing happen to wildcats?

Read more... 

Monday, 17 June 2019

SIGHTINGS, UK: Multiple big cat sightings in Hatherleigh

A number of people have reported seeing a ‘black panther’ sized cat on the outskirts of Hatherleigh.

The reports come after a string of sightings across the South West earlier this year. Residents have reported seeing a large cat in multiple locations in Hatherleigh and the surrounding areas. Clare Louise Ellerton was walking along Runnon Moor Lane when a large black cat ‘the size of a Labrador’ was seen running towards nearby woodland last week.

“As I was driving to take my dogs for a walk along the cycle path it ran out in front of our car,” said Clare. “It ran into the woody area at the side of Moor View, it was definitely not a dog, it was very sleek and long. I stopped some people who were also walking towards us who saw it too. The other people said that they watched it run into the woods.”

Read more... 

UK: Big cat expert claims five confirmed sightings of pumas in UK with breeding population of 250 across country

A wildcat expert revealed there have been five confirmed sightings of pumas in the UK and warned a population of around 250 are breeding across the country.

Rick Minter, Britain's leading big cat tracker, said he has seen "conclusive" videos of the animals amid estimates that hundreds have made the UK their home.

Commenting on the rush of sightings this year, former countryside government adviser Minter says he regularly receives reports of the American mountain lions and black panthers.

He told Daily Star Online: “Some snippets of big cats have been caught on trail cameras or camera traps. Several of these are shown at my talks.

“There was one farmer coming away from a meeting and he showed it on his mobile phone.

Absolutely 10 out of 10 quality video footage of a puma on his land.

We came back jaw-dropping… but he was keeping it quiet and to himself.”

Read more... 

PHOTOS: Tigress gives birth to three cubs at Panna

Panna Tiger Reserve is welcoming new tiger cubs in its jungle areas after starting the rehabilitation project. About one month back, a tigress had given birth to three cubs which increased the number of tigers at Panna from 42 to 45. Talking about the birth of cubs, Panna officials said that they are worried about the tigress and three cubs as there is no radio collar on their neck. They said that though patrolling guard and field staff have been deployed to ensure safety of the big cats but due to lack of radio collar their lives are in danger. The tigress with the three cubs are in buffer zone for a month but Forest Department failed to click photographs of the big cats.

Read more... 


NEWSLINK: Tiger kills one in Brahmapuri forest in Chandrapur district

A tiger claimed one more life in Brahmapuri forest in Chandrapur district on Friday evening. Ashok Janglu Chaudhary, 53, a forest labourer was attacked when he was returning to Gunjewahi village near Sindewahi town.

“He was a fire-watcher in Gunjewahi beat and was returning after finishing the days work. He was found dead along the way. We suspect it to be a tiger attack,” Deputy Conservator of Forest Kulraj Singh said.

Read more... 

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

NEWSLINK: Injured tiger found dead at Rajasthan's Sariska Tiger Reserve, officials deny overdose of tranquilliser

A tiger died in the Sariska Tiger Reserve on Saturday, June 8 after being tranquillised during the course of ongoing treatment. The tiger had allegedly been injured and was being treated for the same. The tiger was identified as ST-16.

The incident came to light after the forest officials observed that the tiger had not moved for a long time. When the officials reached there, it was discovered that the tiger had passed away.

The tiger had suffered an injury on its right elbow. The officials had allegedly administered treatment to the tiger and had released it into the forest. According to ANI, the officials denied that the overdose of tranquilisers could have caused the death of the tiger.
Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Year later, another big cat caught on cam at Sahyadri Tiger Reserve

A year after it recorded the first sighting of a tiger in the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR) in eight years, the forest department has caught another big cat of the habitat on camera.

"A camera trap in the Radhanagari wildlife sanctuary has captured a male tiger in the first week of May. This is a young male," Satyajeet Gujar, chief conservator of forests (CCF) at the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve said.

The reserve, which covers the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary and Chandoli National Park, suffers from lack of breeding, resident tigers, and a poor prey base.

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: After Losing 1 Leopard Every Day Last Year, India Has Already Lost 218 Leopards 4 Months Into 2019

In the first four months of 2019, India lost 218 leopards, which is more than 40% of the previous year’s total leopard death toll. According to data kept by the nonprofit Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), 500 leopards died in 2018.

According to data compiled by the WPSI, at least one leopard died every day in 2018 - beaten or shot to death, run over by trains, or trapped in wells or other water bodies. 

Poaching has been the leading cause of death in 2019, claiming 57 leopards between January and April.

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: 36 quarantined lions may never be freed in the wild

The 36 Asiatic lions that have been quarantined for eight months following the canine distemper virus (CDV) outbreak will never be released into the wild, according to forest department officials.

Apparently, department's experts believe these big cats can contract the disease again and become carriers of the virus thus putting other lions at risk. Therefore, in the first week of May, the state forest department decided to indefinitely extend captivity of the lions.
Read more... 

NEWSLINK: World's Largest Cat, a Lion-Tiger Cross Breed, Weighs 319kg

Ligers, a cross breed between a lion and a tiger are not unheard of. But a recent video of a liger from South Carolina in the US is unbelievable to be true! Dubbed as the 'world's largest cat' ever caught on camera, this tiger and lion crossbreed named Apollo weighs 319kgs! Wildlife conservationist Mike Holston, who goes by his name The Real Tarzann on social media uploaded a video of talking Apollo for a walk. The video has left viewers in shock at the sheer size of this massive beast.

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Mountain lion attack reported in Morgan Hill

Local and state authorities June 4 found evidence of a suspected mountain lion attack in a Morgan Hill neighborhood, and are warning residents to be cautious when out with children and pets.

On Tuesday, Morgan Hill Police responded to a report of a deer carcass on Fountain Oaks Drive, east of U.S. 101, according to a press release from MHPD. The city’s animal services officer met with the resident who reported the dead deer, and examined the small carcass.

Police also notified the California Department of Fish and Game. Both the MHPD animal services officer and Fish and Game officials agreed the bite marks and injuries on the deer carcass were “most likely caused by a mountain lion,” reads the MHPD release.

“This is the first reported possible mountain lion event in 2019,” reads the press release. “The police department is working with the Department of Fish and Game on how to best address this situation.”

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Halfmoon alerts residents of mountain lion sightings on social media

Town residents are reporting some pretty big cats in the area.

Earlier this week, residents told both Halfmoon’s town hall and animal control offices they’d seen mountain lions, according to Town Supervisor Kevin Tollisen.

The calls prompted town officials to alert residents on Facebook about the reported location of the wild animal.

“We have received information from residents that there have been sightings of a mountain lion in the vicinity of Coons Crossing; the Northern part of Halfmoon,” the post reads. “We would just like to alert everyone to please be aware for the safety of your families and pets.”

Read more... 

VIDEO: Rare Snow Leopard Spotted in Northwest China

The Anxi Nature Reserve in North China’s Gansu province recently announced that a snow leopard has been spotted on the arid reserve.

This is an exciting development, as snow leopards have not been sighted there since the establishment of the reserve in 1987, more than 30 years ago.

The Anxi Nature Reserve and Lanzhou University partnered up in 2012 to set up a field observation team, who placed 62 infrared cameras at the site. When researchers collected the field data, the team found three separate instances of snow leopard sightings: on September 27, September 28 and November 17 of 2018. (It’s not clear whether the sightings were of one or more snow leopards).

Read more... 

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

NEWSLINK: Pensioner fights off a Siberian tiger with a pitchfork as it attacks one of his cows, before shooting it dead

A pensioner with a pacemaker for his heart condition has told how he used a pitchfork to fight off a giant wild Siberian tiger. Vitaly Saidov was naked in his sauna in eastern Russia when he heard a commotion in his cow shed. He threw on a gown and ran to see a tiger attacking one of his cows.

Read more...

CARL WRITES: 8/4/19 - Pentre Halkyn, Flintshire

This is an easy one!

The “huge cat-like beast” recorded back in 2016 by a drones onboard camera in the idyllic Welsh mountains is unfortunately nothing of the sort! There have been many reports (some good, some not so) of dark, panther-like animals, roaming across North Wales in recent years , however this footage doesn’t do big cats research or cryptozoology in general much favours.

The video producers from RoughCuts, who flew their drone over the quarry in Pentre Halkyn, Flintshire; after re-viewing the footage, honestly came to the conclusion that the animal they recorded looked cat-like. And indeed it does at a quick glance, however, if one takes the time to blow-up the footage and pause the video at thirty one seconds, and again between thirty six and thirty eight seconds, it can be adequately observed that this animal was actually wearing a pale coloured collar.

So it’s either a stray dog or the owner is out of view. Maybe the owner of the white dog mentioned in the article also had a black dog (maybe a black Labrador) which wasn’t on a lead at the time when the drone recorded overhead.

Nonetheless, this is a good example of how the media creates hype; in this case by only publicising still frames that don’t clearly show the collar, therefore misleading the public. The still published in the article is at thirty three second in the video, whereas previously at thirty one seconds, it is observable – in my opinion this deception must have been intentional.

Then we get roughly two seconds of video where we get a few different views of the collar – implying that’s what it was as opposed to a light patch on the fur. (thirty six seconds through to thirty eight seconds).

There clearly are, or at least have been, non native felids loose in North Wales, however, unfortunately this is nothing but a black dog (or a media induced red herring).

NEWSLINK: Cougar attacks child; boy’s dogs drive big cat off

A cougar attacked a child Saturday evening in a city park in Leavenworth, Wash.

The big cat was spotted Saturday afternoon in Enchantment Park, and was acting abnormally, according to a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife statement. 

Officials searched the park for the cougar, but were unable to find it. The city then closed the park. WDFW intended to search with dogs Sunday morning.

However, around dusk on Saturday the cougar attacked a young boy.

Read more... 

Friday, 31 May 2019

SIGHTING? UK: Savaged deer carcass found in UK woods sparks big cat fears

A small Brit town has been gripped by panic after a deer carcass was found in Tehidy Woods, Cornwall.

The find has re-ignited fears that big cats may be stalking the area's nature spots, leaving locals terrified and afraid for their much-loved pets.

Walking enthusiast Lynne Norton stumbled upon the brutalised deer while out with her dogs.

Lynne believed that the defenceless dear had not been dead for long when she found the stripped carcass at a beauty spot near Redruth.

Lynne, who took the photos, said she found the "fresh carcass of a deer but stripped quite unusually" - sparking fears that another big cat is on the loose.

Read more... 

NEWSLINK: Thousands of lions are being bred in brutal ‘farms’ to be shot by hunters are slaughtered for Chinese medicine

Thousands of lions are being raised in sickening breeding farms so they can be gunned down by wealthy trophy hunters.

Other big cats are being slaughtered just so their bones can be turned into ‘medicines’ after being sold to dealers in the Far East. 

Operation Simba discovered there are now an estimated 12,000 captive-bred lions in South Africa - outnumbering wild ones by almost four to one. 

The revelations come after a year-long investigation into the callous industry headed by former Tory peer Lord Ashcroft.

His probe discovered some of the lions are even being targeted inside fenced enclosures by wealthy trophy hunters.

Read more... 

SIGHTING, New Zealand: Picton couple claim to have seen elusive black panther

Rumours of a South Island black panther have resurfaced after a sighting on Friday night.

Picton couple Juliearna Kavanagh and Warren Lewis claim they've seen the mystery beast on the prowl near Ward, while driving on State Highway 1.

There have been about 10 reported sightings since the 1990s and MPI aren't ruling out a case of mistaken identity, but Ms Kavanagh, an entrepreneur and hotelier, said she knows what she saw.

"It was a great big thing with a head that was a cat and then a long body... sleek, black and with a very long black tail. It was about the height of my knees, maybe a bit taller than my knees," she said.

"It was in full flight, running about 10 meters from us in the headlights."

Read more... 

SIGHTING, UK: African big cat spotted on the prowl at Carn Brea in Cornwall

A couple were left shocked and mesmerised when they watched what they describe as a big cat prowling near a Cornish landmark last week.

Richard Searby-Bates and his partner Aimee Clark had just got out of their car by the railway line which runs at the bottom of Carn Brea, near Redruth, when they spotted a large wild cat.

Richard told Cornwall Live: “We were visiting the industrial estate and were getting out of the car when I just froze … I had to do a double take. About 20ft away was a cat which I think was about 25 inches from the floor to the ridge of its shoulders.
“It was properly on the prowl.

Read more... 

SIGHTING, UK: Is this a big cat caught on camera in North Wales?

Taking a drone out over North Wales to film the beautiful North Wales scenery is a common event for the Rough Cuts team.

But when they returned home from filming over a quarry in Pentre Halkyn, Flintshire, they were surprised to find a large animal on the footage.

Some have questioned whether it could be a big cat - many of which have been spotted across North Wales. However, some people think it could, in fact, be a dog.

Read more... 

Friday, 10 May 2019

NEWSLINK: Zookeeper lucky to be alive after lion attack near Hanover

A young zookeeper is expected to make a full recovery after being mauled by two lions at the Serengeti Zoo, near Hanover, over the weekend. Reports indicate the man entered the enclosure at feeding time.

The lions had been released from their cages to feed on meat which had been left for them in the centre of a large enclosure.

The boss of the zoo told reporters “it’s a miracle that our young colleague is still alive”.

His colleagues told DPA they were unsure why the 24-year-old man entered the enclosure, although they speculated it could have been to perform a routine fence check.

Read more... 

Thursday, 9 May 2019

CARL WRITES: Pershore Roe Deer Carcass, 2016

Was the 2016 Pershore Roe Deer Carcass Really Predated by a Large Unknown Felid?


Back in 2016, a strange looking roe deer carcass Capreolus capreolus was discovered near the Countrywide warehouse at Defford Mill near Pershore. On Wednesday April 13th, at approximately 2.30pm, I travelled to this location in Worcestershire to view the carcass and request an interview with Mr. Gareth Price; the Site Operations Manager who first discovered and photographed the remains and reported it to the Evesham Journal.

After a brief conversation, Mr. Price pointed me in the general direction of the carcass and then added that Rick Minter; a British big cat researcher based in Gloucestershire, and Bob Lawrence of West Midland Safari and Leisure Park, had both independently visited and inspected the remains a few days previously. I was most surprised when Mr. Price claimed there were actually two eviscerated carcasses; a buck (male) and a doe (female), killed only a few days apart and discovered within the same field. This, along with the alleged broken neck, at least at first seemed promising. Mr. Price also claimed Mr. Minter had apparently already verified the buck carcass was the work of a large predatory Felid. Mr. Lawrence, on the other hand, does not believe there is any evidence of big cat activity.

The Evesham Journal had previously reported the roe deer carcass photographed by Mr. Price had a broken neck, and that it was probably the work of a big cat that is alleged to stalk the area. Upon further examination however, one of the first things I discovered was there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever of any damage to the cervical vertebrae on either carcass. The buck’s head and neck, published in the Evesham Journal, was completely turned around and facing the opposite direction; this does not necessarily indicate a break as all deer easily articulate in this manner when looking out for predators. The doe however, which was positioned about twenty feet from the road (not the buck as was previously implied by the media) did have one completely severed lumbar vertebrae!

By now both carcasses had been ‘hollowed out’ in the typical fashion with their stomachs exposed, and displayed several chewed rib bones and the contents of the rib cage were also missing. The small stomach and small intestine, along with all the surrounding tissues had been completely eaten away and it was quite obvious by now both carcasses had been dragged about post-mortem by scavengers; probably foxes, and very likely people. By the time I arrived, almost a week had passed since the newspaper report and decomposition had by now firmly set in, and one must admit additional positive evidence may have been lost during this time.

While checking for the alleged broken cervical vertebrae I found no puncture or slash marks on either deer to indicate a predatory attack, however the doe had considerable mutilation to her upper cranium exposing the frontal bone and no external ears were present; one might reasonably speculate that these might have been rasped off by a cat’s tongue; however, upon viewing the carcass it looked more like they had been torn away, probably by a fox as opposed to the prolonged licking of a cat’s papillae!

I found the spoor of many Canids, such as domestic dogs and foxes in the vicinity of the carcasses, but also found a limited number of tracks that appeared to be vaguely feline in appearance; being proportionately broad, asymmetrical with no visible claw marks, with longish oval toe pads.  (See CFZ Yearbook, 2016)

Unfortunately the posterior edge of the plantar pad was indistinct and did not come out clearly in any of the photographs. However, considering the variation displayed in the spoor of different dog breeds, and also taking into consideration the soil density of the location due to recent weather conditions, it’s quite possible these were large dog tracks and not feline at all.

Domestic dog spoor varies greatly in both size and shape between breeds, for example:

  • German Shepherd: Length = 9.4 – 10 cm, Width = 9.4 cm.
  • Beagle: Length 6.9 cm, Width 5.6 cm.
  • West Highland Terrier: Length 3.75 cm, Width 3.1 cm.

Both carcasses had solid necks showing absolutely no sign of damage to the cervical vertebrae, if there had been damaged cervical neck vertebra that I somehow missed, there was nothing to suggest that it was caused by a large predator, as just outside the field the road cambers upwards either side of the gateway, creating blind spots from both directions which could easily have caused the deaths of both the deer.

This area outside the gateway would potentially be a highly dangerous location for many unsuspecting wild animals as they wouldn’t acknowledge the danger of any approaching vehicles until the headlights were directly upon them, and by then it would likely be too late. Under the gateway leading into the field is a large opening through which a determined fox could potentially drag a carcass killed on the road into the field, away from traffic for consumption, however considering I found no evidence of cervical damage this scenario is quite unnecessary as the deer, after being hit, quite likely made their own way into the field to die and were then later scavenged upon.

I also found several scratch marks and dried grass on a fence post that I initially thought may have been left by a large Felid crossing from the road over into the field, though upon further examination it seemed more likely this was actually caused by human activity as the post is positioned exactly halfway between the two carcasses on approach to the location. Anyone who wished to enter the field to view the carcasses but didn’t want to walk round to the gateway would have probably crossed the fence exactly in that area.

Data Collected:

I photographed the carcasses and the spoor. I also took swabs for DNA analysis from the head, neck and rib cages of both carcasses and collected an unusual looking faecal sample found in close proximity to the buck. Apart from some sheep wool and horse hairs snagged on a barbed wire fence close by, I unfortunately found no unidentifiable hair samples for morphology.

Positive evidence might be the exposed frontal bone - that may had been caused by the rough rasping papillae from a Felid, but more likely, going by the appearance of the trauma, was torn off by a known scavenger. However, the spoor discovered may be considered as having feline characteristics.

The lower abdominal cavities consumed; probably by known scavengers and the broad, clawless, asymmetrical spoor discovered, damage to the hind limbs that were probably caused post-mortem by scavengers, and the severed lumber vertebrae can all be considered neutral evidence.

The negative evidence is the undamaged cervical vertebrae, no puncture or slash marks found around the neck with little or no hairs missing, and the dangerous location in terms of animal-vehicle collisions. No further physical evidence of feline activities.

Conclusions:

Apart from the spoor (see CFZ Yearbook, 2016), which could have also been produced by a large unspecified dog breed, and the exposed frontal bone of the roe’s skull, it seems plausible these carcasses were both the result of road collisions and the other injuries were probably post-mortem caused by known local wildlife. I think we can be fairly confident about this, however I did collect biological samples to be tested if considered necessary at a later date.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest non native Felids such as leopards Panthera pardus, pumas Puma concolor, lynxes Lynx sp., jungle cats Felis chaus and leopard cats Prionailurus bengalensis etc. are, or at least have been, roaming the wilds of Britain in recent times, though unfortunately this particular case of the Pershore Roe Deer Carcass was likely a red herring!